The Personal Manifesto

Holy wow its been a long time since I posted! My apologies friends, I did not foresee my writing apathy would extend beyond my schoolwork. It is a depressing feeling being so sick of writing papers, book reports, and target market summaries that it affects my passion for my other writing projects.

Thankfully now I am done with school for the summer, and I have many ambitious plans for spending my time. First of all I’m going to start posting more on this blog. Although my recent writing inclinations have leaned towards the political and religious I will spare everyone the task of slogging through those types of posts. I think that the work I do in that vein will be mostly for myself, a way of getting my thoughts in order and bringing in references and a sense of concreteness to my ideology.

To me the concept of a manifesto is one I associate with Communism or hippies trying to “fight the system, man”. But now that I think about it, I don’t think there are enough manifestos out there. Not the kind that you print out at Kinko’s and hand out on your local college campus, but a more personal document. A list of your beliefs, views, and hopes for the future.

When you are forced to write down what you believe and find support for it, you begin to get a better grasp of your own thought processes and ca match up new information with what you hold to be true. Part of the reason that I think so many people today are adrift in the ocean of their own lives is that they don’t know what to believe or why to believe it. Everything is based on emotion; it’s about what makes them feel good at the moment.

Maybe I will share this document here when it is finished, but the primary motivation is personal. I don’t intend to convince anyone with this document or start any debates. I think of it as an exploration in rhetoric, a research project, and above all a statement of personal doctrine.

Wish me luck!

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The reading list so far…

Well it was more than a few days, but I finally am posting that reading list I talked about back in The Perpetual Reader. Here is my list of books that are waiting in the wings to be read! The subject matter and depth of the books is all over the place. Basically I just wrote a book title down if it caught my eye and investigated it a bit more to see if it was of interest.

With the school semester almost over I look forward to posting here more often and maybe getting into reading one or more of these books!

Things a Minimalist Should Have: Gratitude

With the holiday season in full swing we all turn our attention to preparation for the festivities. Thanksgiving turkeys are thawed, stuffing made, Christmas lists written, and a fever of busyness takes hold. In all the rush, and especially with the extreme commercialization of the holidays, people often forget to have gratitude in their hearts. After all, that is what these days were meant to remind us of. The Pilgrims had their Thanksgiving feast to express their gratitude to God for delivering them from persecution in England into a new world full of freedom and promise. Christmas is a celebration of the Christ-child’s birth and a reflection of gratitude for the life He would lead and the death He would suffer.

In this modern age however the meaning of these days of gratitude is lost. Even from a secular perspective, the higher virtues that Thanksgiving and Christmas represent (such as thankfulness,  charity, togetherness, and family) have been lost to wave after wave of soulless materialism. The audacity of the irony that is Black Friday astonishes me sometimes. The thankful spirit and thoughts on Thursday are replaced not 24 hours later by mobs of people trampling each other and clamoring for the latest and greatest toys.

So what use does a minimalist have for the kind of attitude that has taken over the holiday season? I’ll leave it up to you to answer that question.

What needs to return to society today is gratitude. Gratitude for the things you have, not jealousy against those who have more than you. Thankfulness for the gifts God has given you and the people in your life. I have said before that minimalism is the active practicing of contentment. Continuing in that train of thought, gratitude is the natural result of contentment. When we are content with what we have we realize just how important each thing, or person in our lives is and we become that much more appreciative of it. Gratitude springs naturally from a contented heart.

This Thanksgiving and Christmas remember to be grateful for the blessings you have in your life. Take the time to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Survey the possessions you own and appreciate how each one makes your life better. Choose to use your time wisely. Put thought and meaning into the gifts that you give to others. And most of all be grateful. For that is something that everyone, not just minimalists, should have in abundance.